Deal on Saturday park road closures applauded 

Years of debate over extending closures of a main roadway in Golden Gate Park to Saturday appears over as an agreement brokered by Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Office was widely praised Monday.

The negotiated deal allows for the Saturday road closure for about half of the 1.5-mile stretch of JFK Drive that is normally closed on Sundays. The closure will only take place for six months of the year, between April and September, not for the entire year.

The agreement also includes a plan to improve the park’s Middle Drive West, from Metson Road to Transverse Drive, which is underused because of its poor conditions. It’s currently closed to traffic Saturdays.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who drafted legislation that would have extended Sunday closures to Saturday, praised the agreement on Monday during the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee’s hearing. "This is certainly where I had hoped approximately we would land," McGoldrick said.

Opponents had said the closure on both Saturdays and Sundays would cause traffic and parking problems as well as decrease attendance at the park’s cultural institutions, such as the de Young Museum. The closure was widely supported by such groups as the San Francisco Bike Coalition and the Sierra Club. But proponents and opponents — who had taken part in last week’s negotiations mediated by Newsom’s Chief of Staff Phil Ginsburg — praised the agreement during Monday’s hearing.

The Board of Supervisors will vote today on legislation that would enact the Saturday closure from May 26 until Sept. 29 of this year. In the future, the closure will take place from April and September. The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on companion legislation in the coming weeks that would enact the closure for years to come.

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